First Drive : MG6 GT 1.8T TSE

Keith Adams

MG6

MG6

Well, here it is at last. After three years of speculation, discussion and politicizing, we’ve driven the MG6 on British roads. Let’s get this out of the way first before moving on: the MG6 is a very good driver’s car, and one that the British Engineers, Designers and – yes – Assembly Line workers should be very proud of.    

Production of the MG6 is ramping up as you read this and Dealers are now open for orders. At launch, the three-car range kicks off at £15,495 for the entry-level S model, next up is the SE at £16,995 while the range-topping TSE comes in at £18,995. Given that even the S rides on 17in alloys and boasts the same 158bhp TCI Tech four-pot, it’s the value model that really looks like the one for us.

However, we’re driving the TSE and it’s loaded with kerbside appeal. Riding on 18in alloys and finished in Union Blue, the MG6 looks cohesive and distinctive. The panel gaps are tight and the paint finish is smooth – it certainly doesn’t look like a budget product.

Interior

MG6 interior

MG6 interior

Inside, it’s much the same story – a good-looking effort with bags of appeal. The interior is roomy and the seats are supportive, although the high shoulder line, fat A-post and limited rear three-quarter visibility can make the MG6 seem a little on the claustrophobic side. Rear seat legroom is impressive and the boot is huge for its sector. Ergonomically, it’s not bad, with the controls all grouped where they should be and the sat/nav/ICE menu system being child’s play to navigate. The controls for the digital split air-conditioning system are a little on the mean side, but that’s nitpicking.

How about the interior quality? Well, it’s no Volkswagen Golf, but the MG6 has certainly improved since we looked at the pre-production cars last year. The dashtop, gearknob and steering wheel all feel good to touch. However, it’s not perfect, with a few rough edges taking the sheen off what could have been a very well polished performance – the scroll knobs on the steering wheel feel nasty (and MG has promised to improve this) and there are a few moulding seams that shouldn’t be there. Finally, some of the interior plastics are on the cheap side, too – but, importantly, they’re not ones you’d be touching on a daily basis, so are hardly worth getting hung up about.

Driving impressions

It’s on the road where the Longbridge engineering team has really put the hours in, producing a great driver’s car worthy of the MG badge on its snout. Initially, the steering feels heavy and first gear can be a bit of a struggle to engage but, once underway and warmed up, the control set comes together well, stringing together a set of bends beautifully. It’s most at home on A- and B-roads, with bags of lateral grip and low-roll cornering, but the precise, well-geared steering leaves the most lasting impression.

Ride quality is on the firm side of acceptable – softer, for instance, than an MG ZS – and the damping is impressive at reining it all in. Road noise is contained well and off-camber trickery and pot-holes are taken in its stride. In short, it’s dynamically spot on, light on its feet and right up there with the Ford Focus in terms of feedback – it’s definitely well suited to British roads. Most interestingly, for the European launch in 2012, the MG6 will be fine-tuned to each market’s specific tastes.

Performance is adequate. The 1.8-litre turbocharged TCI Tech engine has a familiar sound and feel and is, in this installation, well insulated and damped. Maximum speed is limited to 120mph (resulting in a low insurance group) and we’d be keen to remove that for European use.

We timed 0-60mph at 9 seconds and, on the motorway, it settles to a muted hum, with the engine bang in the middle of its flat and lengthy power band for muscular response – which is slightly flattered by a keen low-pressure turbo installation. It starts to feel thrashy towards its 7200rpm rev limiter, but the MG6 does its best between 3000 and 5000rpm – keep it on the boil here and you’ll find it loping along capably with the speedo usually reading more than you’re expecting.

However, we’ve been skirting around the rhinoceros in the room – the lack of a muscular turbodiesel option. This will be most keenly felt at the pumps. Driven enthusiastically – encouraged by that capable chassis – it’s easy to dip fuel consumption into the high-20s, with a realistic average of around 35mpg. CO2 output of 184g/km is unacceptably high and this is seriously going to deter fleet buyers. The good news is that a turbodiesel is coming and we’ve seen it.

Verdict

MG6: Great first effort for ambitious new company

MG6: Great first effort for ambitious new company

Without the risk of repeating ourselves, we’ll simply say that the MG6 is good. Sure, there are one or two rough edges, but in no way does that detract from the appeal of an exciting addition to the budget end of the market for the £15.5k entry level car. On the road it feels well-sorted and easily capable of mixing it with more expensive machinery –  ‘our lads’ in Birmingham have done a great job.

The MG6 is the product of an ambitious company, which has realistic expectations from its UK soft-launch – it’s much better than we had expected it to be. It’s going to appeal to keen drivers who appreciate a tactile, well-damped car, which is far less extreme than the old MG Zed car range. It’s for the family man in a hurry and, preferably, with a company fuel card. It’s a pity that the saloons and turbodiesels aren’t available from launch – both of which will massively extend the appeal of the MG6 – but, as it stands, we’ll give it a thumbs-up. MG is back – and there’s so much more to come.

Price and specs

Price: £18,995
Engine: 1.8-litre 4cyl turbo
Power: 158bhp
Torque: 158lb ft
0-62mph: 8.4secs (claimed)
Top speed: 120mph (limited)
Economy: 35.6mpg
CO2: 184g/km
Equipment: Foglights, 18-inch alloy wheels, USB connection, air-conditioning, four airbags, electric windows, rear parking camera, sat nav

 

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

Latest posts by Keith Adams (see all)

Keith Adams

About the Author:

Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007. Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent... Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.

121 Comments on "First Drive : MG6 GT 1.8T TSE"

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  1. Dean Beedell says:

    This MG6 looks good. I reckon it fits the bill but is a tadge ‘normal’ for me, as in saleable, modern and European in style.

    The car lacks some character but it may well get that over time. However, the MG6 needs a ‘fast’ version as well as a diesel in my opinion. MG needs to attract the fast driver who wants some real poke, something to aspire to – like the Rover Tomcat in its heyday.

  2. Tony says:

    Dean Beedell :
    This MG6 looks good. I reckon it fits the bill but is a tadge ‘normal’ for me, as in saleable, modern and European in style.

    The car lacks some character but it may well get that over time. However, the MG6 needs a ‘fast’ version as well as a diesel in my opinion. MG needs to attract the fast driver who wants some real poke, something to aspire to – like the Rover Tomcat in its heyday.

    Well put and pretty much what I was going to say.

    Good luck MG!

  3. Johnos1984 says:

    You’ve seen the diesel? Can you give any information on it? That’s the one for me when it comes if I’m going to get an MG6.

  4. Simon Woodward says:

    I reckon that the MG6 is a good foundation to start with. I like the car – it’s a tremendous effort.

  5. Eamonn says:

    Yes please in red!

    I wish all the MG employees the very best.

  6. Johnos1984 says:

    Actually, I rather like that blue. Very impressive but please get working on the diesel and get it to market ASAP.

    I’d prefer to drive the petrol but I have to pay for the running costs so diesel it has to be.

    Incidentally, are they making a historical connection with the numberplate?

  7. Doug says:

    The MG6 looks a lot nicer in blue than that ‘350Z’ orange launch colour. I’m pleased that it’s getting a tentative thumbs up from the press – Autocar have posted a fairly nice review.

    However, the proof will be in the (sales-figure) pudding. I mean, it’s no Maestro, but then what is?

  8. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    MGs were never in my opinion typical ‘luxury’ cars, so a few rough edges are no problem for me.

    It’s good to see positive initial reviews for this car. I echo the good wishes voiced by others to MG and its workers at Longbridge (I’m not used to this MG Birmingham yet – too much of a parallel to the soul-less monikers of ‘Plant Oxford/Swindon/Hams Hall’ etc.)

    Well done folks, onwards and upwards!

  9. Steven211 says:

    I love this – the blue is just stunning, interior looks nice and plastics are not at the top of my list.

    Is that reference to 7200rpm a typo? Some reviews have said that there could be a 2.0 petrol, is that true? I hope it is – all I need now is a lottery win! Haha.

  10. Alex J says:

    Well, if there was an estate turbo diesel, I would take one in this colour.

    I do not know the future of this current iteration of MG(Rover), but the MG6 will be a hugely significant vehicle.

    Twenty years from now people will be falling over themselves to buy the car that revived the British Motor Industry!!

  11. Ross A says:

    …and so, to all the naysayers (and purists)..?

  12. Wilko says:

    Well, the inexplicable absence of a diesel option at launch aside, the MG6 sounds like an acceptable car for the money. I think I’d still probably rather buy something a bit more British though – like a Nissan perhaps.

    Incidentally, is the photo with the Maestro in the background an official promo shot?

  13. Jonathan Carling Jonathan Carling says:

    Well, that’s a relief – the MG6 really is a good car. Job done, well played MG!

  14. Alex Scott says:

    The MG6 certainly looks better in some colours – for example, the blue or silver look better than the white. I think the white one needs more black (or red and blue) to make it look more racey or aligned with Britain and less bland.

    The comments about the first gear are interesting. I’m not exactly sure what you meant by hard to get into first gear but I used to find my Tomcat Turbo regularly stalled in first gear – it was a a bit to high and there was not enough low engine speed torque.

    The 9 second to 60 mph time isn’t great either as a car like this should do that in around 6 to 7 seconds – remember the Rover 827 Vitesse (a bigger engine but this one has a turbo and presumably some development – yes?).

    However, other than that, the MG6 is starting to grow on me. The interior looks nice and, if i were up for a fleet car, I would possibly consider it but then I’m not so sure. It’s hard to say – Kia anyone? I like the Kia Coupe – it looks better.

    Alex.

  15. Richard Moss says:

    Paul T :
    MGs were never in my opinion typical ‘luxury’ cars, so a few rough edges are no problem for me.

    There is, though, a difference between “lacking luxury” and “rough edges”. A car can be basic but still put together nicely.

    That dirty engine (184g/km) is going to be a serious problem. Remember, it will affect the road tax banding and that will put people off.

    I would be surprised if the first 2000 (Year 1) don’t sell, simply because of the enthusasts/anticipation factor and, of course, many of those will be registered by Dealers as demonstrators. Years 2 and 3 are going to be the killer when we start to see how reliable it is, how good the customer service is and what sort of warranty issues arise.

    The MG6 looks pleasant enough in a “non-specific” way (i.e. nothing really makes it stand out from the crowd) and that colour suits it.

  16. Alex Scott says:

    One more thing that made me laugh – one of the photos shows only the last two letters of the number plate BL and then the MG6 Turbo badge.

  17. DaveH says:

    I think the colour helps but the pictures make the MG6 look a bit our of proportion – it looks too narrow. I will probably be told that it looks better in the metal but I was told the same about the new XJ and I think it looks worse!

    Anyway, joking aside, it looks like they have put together a good effort which is contemporary and won’t look out of place on the market.

    However, Keith, are you judging the handling against the old or the new Ford Focus? The new Focus is not as agile and does not give as good feedback so, if your judging the MG6 against the recently departed Focus, then I think this could be the new market leader in handling – and that will get it sales.

  18. Cookie1600 says:

    Alex Scott :
    One more thing that made me laugh – one of the photos shows only the last two letters of the number plate BL and then the MG6 Turbo badge.

    Yes, but more telling was that the Photographer left the F out before the BL…

  19. Darren, Lancs says:

    It’s good to read that not only does the MG6 look good, but it’s also a driver’s car worthy of the MG name.

    Good luck to everyone at the Longbridge plant. Fingers crossed for a success story in the making.

  20. Doug says:

    Alex Scott :
    The 9 second to 60 mph time isn’t great either as a car like this should do that in around 6 to 7 seconds – remember the Rover 827 Vitesse (a bigger engine but this one has a turbo and presumably some development – yes?).

    A 0-60 time of 9 seconds is perfectly adequate for the class of car – if memory serves, the Mk1 and Mk2 Focus 2.0 record a similar 0-60 time, as does the Golf TSI. Sub-seven second times are the domain of hot-hatches and small coupes (Focus ST, Scirocco TSI etc.) so I imagine that, if they release a hot version of the MG6, then we might see that time drop. Remember also that the 827 Vitesse was a far more expensive car when new.

  21. Just four airbags on a car in this class today? Many customers would distance themselves from buying one with such a comparatively poor level of safety equipment. How about other safety-related items? Fitting a diesel will not help to achieve any sales in a market like Germany if the safety equipment level is not addressed.

    Indeed, seeing that every attempt to enter Europe with a Chinese car so far has failed on bad to catastrophic crash test results, I hope that MG have really done their homework.

  22. Wilko says:

    Doug :
    60 time of 9 seconds is perfectly adequate for the class of car – if memory serves, the Mk1 and Mk2 Focus 2.0 record a similar 0-60 time, as does the Golf TSI. Sub-seven second times are the domain of hot-hatches and small coupes (Focus ST, Scirocco TSI etc.) so I imagine that, if they release a hot version of the MG6, then we might see that time drop. Remember also that the 827 Vitesse was a far more expensive car when new.

    Er, aren’t MGs SUPPOSED to be hot hatches and small coupes? Isn’t that, like, the whole point of the brand?

  23. There is not much innovation in the MG6 – it resembles a car from Korea.
    http://www.bmc-freak.dk

  24. Mark Hayman says:

    The MG6 is a nice looking car. I wish all the engineers at Longbridge all the best in putting MG back on the map.

    I can understand the need to have different engines for different insurance groups like the earlier ZS, but am surprised that the MG6’s engine will produce a 0-60 time of only 9 secs – as previous readers have already noted, there should have been a model with 0-60 time of 6 or 7 secs and a higher top speed than 120mph to carry on with the MG brand,

    I would expect to find the new engine spec. fitted into a Rover model if one was produced. I have Rover 800 Vitesse with a 0-60 time of over 7secs – I know it’s a more expensive car, but was hoping that this new MG6 would carry on from the MG ZS.

    I also agree that a turbo diesel needs to be included in the range. I think an estate version would be good and that would be great in diesel form too.

    I like the photo with the BL on the number plate next to the MG6 logo!

    Regards,

    Mark.

  25. E668ECP says:

    Oh dear, the interior is dreadful – such a shame as it ruins the car.

    No decent dealers up North, no auto, no all-important diesel, no six speed box, no six air bags (didn’t they learn from the 1998 NCAP test for the Rover 75?) and, finally, a K-Series (sorry TCI Tech or whatever it’s now called)…

  26. Hilton Davis says:

    A good account of the MG6 and nice photos too. I like the image of it next to an old Maestro and that close-up of the “BL” numberplate!

    Union Blue looks similar to Vauxhall’s Arden Blue from their VXR range, which can’t be a bad thing. It’s a pity the top speed is limited to 120mph but I guess that’s not really an issue in the UK.

    I agree the entry S model is probably the best buy and that’s the one I would go for, if/when I contemplate purchase. We’ve waited a long time for the MG6 to actually reach the UK market and good luck to it and the company.

  27. Richard Moss says:

    Alexander Boucke :
    Indeed, seeing that every attempt to enter Europe with a Chinese car so far has failed on bad to catastrophic crash test results, I hope that MG have really done their homework.

    Well, to be fair to them, I would be surprised if they haven’t, given the British engineering input.

  28. Ayd says:

    Excellent photography…

  29. Andrew Elphick says:

    I’m surprised and impressed – we may not have a British-owned Automotive Industry, but we still have the best engineers in the world. Let’s hope it’s onward and upward from here on in.

  30. Hilton Davis says:

    Oh, I forgot to add this point: I think the front grille mesh and alloy wheel style look similar to the outgoing Vauxhall Astra VXR.

  31. Alan Instone says:

    It’s wonderful to see the MG back on the road. I saw the pre-production model at Goodwood last year and the staff in attendance did say that the dash and interior would satisfy a British driver.

    I have a ZT and it’s proved a lovely car. However, as an elder statesman driver, it’s sad that there isn’t going to be a diesel engine or an auto gearbox. The other downside for me is the lost opportunity to have the MG “snarl” front of old – the fact that MG has followed other manufacturers and modelled the front around the MG insignia is disappointing (but then neither does my ZT). The MG6 really does need to be set apart asthetically.

    Anyway, it’s still great news for British enthusiasts.

  32. Kev Davis says:

    That MG6 TURBO badge smacks of Halfords! I’d take it off!

  33. Dr Bobby Love says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again and again… Anyone looking at this will also look at the Octavia vRS. I’m afraid the VAG product will win hands down.

  34. Jemma says:

    …or a Humber Sceptre 1725 6 speed manual: 6 speed transmission (8 optional), 85bhp, 0-60mph – 10.2 seconds and £2500 for a perfect example.

    It would cost less to re-spec such a vehicle to the same as the TSE than buy a new one and, over the lifetime, it would still be cleaner and better for the environment.

    We’ve come fifty years almost from the introduction of the Sceptre and similar cars – and we are orgasmic about the fact that fifty years of development has shaved a second off 0-60… Woo, hoo!

    I am getting to the point where I think there should be controls a la Czechoslovakia in the 1950s as regards new cars. We winge about nuclear power and the Gods know what else and then go buy a new car or a new laptop to replace the one that was working perfectly but was more than twenty minutes old.

    I like the colour but I am not impressed – the MG6 is just another blandobox to go with all the other blandoboxes.

  35. BajanDave says:

    The MG6 looks like it’s off to a good start – once the other models come on stream and quality is up to scratch it could be well worth the wait.

  36. Russ says:

    The MG6 is a grower but I have to agree that the high CO2 will be a big issue and might hamper the intial success. I do think the diesel should be in the starting line up.

  37. Hilton Davis says:

    My late Uncle owned a 1972 Humber Sceptre (bronze metallic) – it was a lovely car in its day. I agree with Jemma about “people” ditching perfectly serviceable products just because they are last year’s or last month’s model.

  38. Simon Hodgetts says:

    I’ve seen a couple on the roads now – whether it’s because I know what it is, I don’t know, but I think it has presence – especially on the M-Way.

    Having sat inside one, I think the interior is OK – at least the design is understated, unlike some of Ford’s and Vauxhall’s “Blackpool Illuminations” dashboards.

    Would I have one? Maybe, but it would have to be a diesel and that, I’m afraid, is the MG6’s biggest stumbling block at the moment – that diesel you saw needs to be launched pronto and needs to be good. I hope it is – I like the rest of the car…

  39. Simon Hodgetts says:

    @Jemma
    I’m sorry Jemma, you’ve really confused me here. What is the point you’re trying to make? Are you suggesting that we should all drive Humber Sceptres (other old crocks are available)?

    The average motorist wouldn’t be able to afford to re-fuel every five miles owing to the catastrophic fuel consumption, would never get anywhere on time owing to the constant breakdowns and bits falling off, would keep hitting pensioners on crossings owing to the p**s poor brakes, tyres and suspension, a minor bump would result in decapitation of the driver and all of the out of work carworkers would bring the country even closer to bankruptcy due to the unemployment claims.

    However, the local mechanic and scrapyard owner would be buying Bentleys, for cash, due to all the money you keep spending with them trying to keep the old heap running. Meanwhile, sane adults would have all gone out and bought Kias…

  40. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    Was that a Freudian slip or a subtle, satirical angle taken of the tailgate badge on the bottom pic?

    Interesting choice of letters on the number plate… 😀

  41. Vava1 says:

    Wake up people! The ‘BL’ insertion is obviously an expression of Mr Adams’ sense of humour… Doesn’t anybody do irony on here?

  42. CMPD says:

    The nose reminds me of a VW Golf i.e. I like it. The boot looks a bit narrow and bland, while the side view is a little odd. Still, it’s great to see the new car on the road.

  43. Dave Whittington says:

    Well, at last the MG6 has arrived and looks fantastic in this colour but, along with
    the forthcoming diesel, what about a 200bhp KV6 version with the now available X POWER badge?

  44. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Vava1
    Yes, I think we got it!!!

    We don’t all need it spelling out for us. I thought it was rather neat.

  45. David 3500 says:

    Is it me or does the interior have a similar design theme to that of the Rover SD1 – albeit without the clean lines and simplicity? I can definitely see it with the extended binnacle whose outer edge visually leads into the floor console and the fairly high line of the door mouldings.

  46. Benny Ben Adams says:

    Ooh, that looks very, very nice. MG Motor should have painted the earlier ones in blue rather than the ‘Volvo S60 orange’. I love the BL homage in the plates and it was nice of MMM to lend you a Maestro 😉

    One very slight criticism, though – MG Motor, please fit decent numberplates. MGR always used to fit a larger size rear plate to launch models and they look the better for it. The ones used on this MG6 look like the £4 a set ones you can get off eBay!!

  47. Glenn Aylett says:

    The MG6 is a brave attempt to get the MG name back on the roads and, hopefully, to create meaningful work in what is now England’s unemployment blackspot.

    I know the cynics will be out in force, whining that 120 mph isn’t good enough and making the inevitable comment of “quality is not up to Volkswagen standards” (whatever that means as Volkswagen quality certainly isn’t as good as the critics say), but give this car time.

    All that needs to be done now is to work on getting emissions down, getting a performance version out and, for the fleet market, a turbodiesel and some kind of ECOnetic-type 1.6 model. Hopefully, in a few years time, the MG6 will be seen as the saviour of the British car industry.

  48. Tom says:

    £300 to tax a year. Ugghh!

  49. Ross A says:

    @Tom
    Yeh, that’s a stiff one… I reckon that, until MG Motor source a new petrol engine from somewhere, the MG6 is unlikely to sell in huge numbers – which, I guess, suits them because they wouldn’t want to ramp up production too soon.

    Mr Boucke – the diesel isn’t available partly for this reason. I keep repeating that this is a progressive launch so that everything can be gotten right first time. The MG6 is a solid base to grow from – they don’t want to shout too soon.

    However, by the time of the European launch, they need to make sure everything is going right before moving in a definitive, upward direction. It’s going to take ten years to get MG to the place where the marque should be.

  50. Wilko says:

    Ross A :
    @Tom
    Yeh, that’s a stiff one… I reckon that, until MG Motor source a new petrol engine from somewhere, the MG6 is unlikely to sell in huge numbers – which, I guess, suits them because they wouldn’t want to ramp up production too soon.

    Brilliant! That must be the rationale!

  51. Marinast says:

    I like the fact that the lower part of the rear window has been inspired by the SD1 Series 2’s rear window – it even has the wiper arm protruding from the glass like on the SD1…

  52. Tony Williamson says:

    WOW! I like the look of the new MG6 – they have got it spot on. Well done!

  53. ChrisK says:

    @Simon Hodgetts
    Well, at least a Humber Sceptre has character!

  54. Chris C says:

    MG Motor UK is, at least, admitting that minor details still require attention and will be fixed – that would probably not have happened in the bad old days!

    The MG6 is probably playing safe where necessary – not overpriced in its marketplace or setting itself up as a competitor for brands it can’t realistically compete with.

    I hope the Dealer Network is up to it and targets its (mainly loyal private owner?) market – interesting to see yesterday how the average age of Nissan Juke owners is apparently 40+ despite the “urban youf” advertising and styling.

    The styling does apprently owe a lot to BMW, Mazda, etc, but it has an “oriental aggression” and the lower swage lines help a lot once noticed.

    The leather seats could do with a bit of texturing/graining. One day somebody will do an article revealing how much of a supposedly leather seat cover is often actually PVC…

    Place your bets on the diesel engine – GM/Opel-based or Fiat or VW or an updated Rover design?

    When are MG going back into the British Touring Car Championship and will they be black and green?

    Anyone notice recently that vehicles are Britain’s second largest source of export earnings? Oil wasn’t far behind – that’s a bit odd given we apparently don’t refine diesel in the UK… Anyway, the sooner we see MG6s coming out of Longbridge in LHD form the better. Will Ireland get (RHD) versions soon?

  55. Hilton Davis says:

    I didn’t realise that the VED for the MG6 will cost £300 with those emissions – a £155 a year for my current car is bad enough. Maybe a diesel MG6 is the one we need…

  56. Simon says:

    The MG6 looks very appealing in the metallic blue colour as tested. It also has class-leading ride and handling so it’s a true driver’s car. The engine is adequate but will limit sales – Skoda are advertising their Octavia 1.6 petrol for £12995 at the moment so even they are finding it difficult to shift the petrol version.

    MG Motor UK won’t produce an estate as the volumes are too low – that’s a shame. The price is OK but private buyers rarely spend over £15k. The sales targets are realistic.

    However, the car does not move the game forward at all. I love MGs and have bought a ZT, but my next car will not be a 6. The interior is still a major let down. British cars are famed for their interiors – think Rover 800, 75 and ZT – all superior to this. The leather looks cheap and nasty, just like a Kia’s – the cheap price cannot overcome this for me.

    However, MG will address this over time and this is the start of the comeback. SAIC Motor will not allow sales to flounder – they are very ambitious!

  57. Englishmen! Innovation, we are not living in the 1990s, but in 2011.

  58. Simon Hodgetts says:

    @ChrisK
    Yep, rigamortis…

  59. Simon Woodward says:

    There are some pictures of the MG5 on MG Motor UK’s Facebook page tonight. The pictures are poor but they give you an idea – it looks like a Focus-sized vehicle.

  60. Keith Adams Keith Adams says:

    I’ve seen them and can confirm they’re being tested (and crash tested) at Longbridge right now.

    /K

  61. Marty B says:

    The high VED band is a double-barrelled shotgun to both feet. That’s no fleet sales at all and private buyers going to other brands with lower emissions. That is what happens when you let the Chinese run things on a car destined for Europe. A huge whoops. It is also a tad pricey for what it is and there is virtually no Dealer Network.

    Additionally, in this class, diesel is king. All Skoda diesels have a long waiting list now which proves the point – even the basic Octavia oil burner has a six month waiting list. I reckon that, if MG Motor UK had been really watching the market, they would have had diesels from the word go! The vRS CR170 is in Band F which equates to £125 a year too!

    MG Motor UK might register 2000 in the first year, but most of them will be demo/press fleet cars. They won’t sell many to private buyers.

  62. Ross A says:

    @Marty B
    True, but that may well be offset by the lower insurance costs. However, I’d expect – and I reckon MG will expect -these to be slow sellers until the diesel gets launched next year by which time they would have had a year to get plans ready for an increase in production and, maybe, even to get the paint tanks stirring again.

    Mind you, as one poster put it, which diesel is it? The G-Series wasn’t fully calibrated properly when MGR went bust (don’t forget this can take many many months to get right properly) and diesel engines aren’t really a priority in the Chinese market so it’s likely that work on the unit was halted during this time – especially to get the TCI Tech unit up to reliability – hence the delay. The car then has to be ’emissions validated’ and, because it’s a new designation within the range, the car has to go through the same tests (hence the crash tests mentioned above) just as if it were an all-new model (that’s why some Duratec-engined Fords were still being called Zetec to save time and money – EU admin…)

    The small Dealer Network is a worry but, again, methinks it’s going to take what is effectively an all-new car maker some time to get a full head of steam – I’ll be interested to see how this pans out…

  63. Ianto says:

    Good luck MG Motor UK.

  64. Simon Woodward says:

    @Keith Adams
    The back end of the MG5 is smart and very modern looking – if the rest of the car looks as good, I think it could be a worthy successor to the ZR/ZS.

    I saw a heavily disguised Focus-sized hatchback on the bottom of the M25 last Tuesday but was on the opposite carriageway and so unable to see it properly… I wonder?

    MG3, MG6 and now an MG5 – it’s starting to look very encouraging.

  65. Steven211 says:

    The diesel is an all new 1.9-litre engine developed by Powertrain Engineers at SMTC UK in Longbridge. I believe that some Indian car company now owns the rights to the G-Series engine.

    The new diesel engine is the most important one for me. I hope the MG3 and MG5 get the diesel as well. MG need more petrol engines though, but I guess they will come in time.

    SAIC Motor seem to take their time in all these things and it is frustrating, but I think the future is bright.

  66. Hilton Davis says:

    Well, according to the website, the VEDfor a 184g/km emissions car is £200 a year, not £300 (yet?). Still that’s bad enough! That will affect certain sales but, if you can afford a £15.5k car, it’s not much extra in the grand scheme. Depreciation is the biggest concern – as always.

  67. Not so big bad Dom says:

    Well, I like it. I just hope it’s eventually built here too, not just pulled out of the box.

    By the way, I drive an Austin 1300 50/50 with a ‘modern’ and, while the 1300 gets all the attention, I wouldn’t like to have an accident in it!

  68. Coke Star says:

    Well done to everybody in Longbridge! Workers and Engineers! I hope to see some MG6s in France very soon. I can’t wait…

  69. Carl Maynard says:

    At last..! However, before we get too excited, we must remember that MG need a RANGE of cars and FAST! A diesel is essential and the new MG3 needs to follow on pretty smartly.

    I’m just so disappointed that this car looks so much like any other design. Back in 1999 we were treated to the 75 – the attention to detail and quality of trim INSIDE the car were, and remain, outstanding.

    Current car design trends will date badly and leave no tangible legacy because that thing called character is sadly absent. The cars of today are, frankly, so bland and uninspiring!

  70. Vavavoom says:

    I think that there’s a touch of BMW about the interior! Let’s hope it’s a success.

    The trouble is that it’s too risky to buy one on my humble wages when a mid-spec, two year old Focus diesel is almost risk free!

  71. Joe Strong says:

    I assume that, with regard to the VED rate, the £300 is for the first year rate and £200 is for subsequent years?

    Honestly though, having just filled up both of my 407s at £95 a go (one of which is an “evil” 2.7 HDi “gas guzzler” that does 45mpg), the VED is the least of my worries.

    The MG6 will, like pretty much all cars this size, lose £140-£160 a month for the first three years in depreciation, so why get all worked up about the road tax?

    The MG6 is a good-looking car, designed in Birmingham and built jointly by comrades in China and Birmingham – we should be pleased that someone is at least making an effort to bring back some local input.

    Indeed, were I changing cars this year, the MG6 would be on my list and I would be delighted to drive it. The fact that it ISN’T German is enough to make me take a look.

  72. Simon Hodgetts says:

    Joe Strong :
    The MG6 is a good-looking car, designed in Birmingham and built jointly by comrades in China and Birmingham – we should be pleased that someone is at least making an effort to bring back some local input.

    The fact that it ISN’T German is enough to make me take a look.

    Good points Joe – I think you’re completely right. I really want this car to succeed, if only to prove the doubters wrong.

    The MG6’s a decent car, good-looking, hopefully well-engineered (in the UK) and one which could offer a viable alternative to the usual Audi/Ford/Vauxhall/VW stuff we see every day on our roads.

    However, MG – LAUNCH THE DERV MODEL PRONTO!!

  73. Oliver says:

    I have just seen the last two letters of the number plate, BL – I hope this will be not a bad omen.

    Incidentally, I have got a ten year old Rover 75 which has six air bags and not four like the new MG6. That car has a very big problem! Cars with a safety equipment like that were built in the mid 1990s and not now!

    I think that, if you want to sell a car today for such a price, you have to build a car which is up to date or years ahead. MG, please build cars which will be comparable to an Astra, Focus or Golf and not to a Lada for the Russian home market!

  74. Jonathan Carling Jonathan Carling says:

    @Oliver
    Hmm, how many airbags do Lada fit for their home market then?

  75. Dolomite Fan says:

    How many people count the airbags? I mean quite seriously how many people actually consider safety as a number one priority? I suspect that number is rather low.

    Overall, the reviews of the MG6 seem positive which is good news. Complaints about dealers or lack of could be said of Alfa Romeo too but no one seems to complain. I’ll certainly be interested to drive one and see what it’s like but the petrol unit is rather old hat. I can get a Focus 1.6 EcoBoost that’s got official figure of over 47mpg, has 150bhp and is faster and probably cheaper. I wish the car well but, for me, there is no overwhelming differentiator between them and the competition.

    MG Motor UK should meet the sales target though as there are still many people who see petrol cars as fine since they are usually cheaper to buy and run than a diesel and, if you don’t do the mileage, it’s no big deal really.

  76. Simon Hodgetts says:

    Thanks again for the edit, erm, Ed – I can never figure out how to make the text do what I want!! 🙂

  77. DaveH says:

    @Oliver
    I find it funny that people thing a car is safe with six airbags. Remember the air bag-laden Grand Voyager? It did not matter what airbags you had the car crumbled like a pack of cards rendering the airbags useless. Don’t judge the car by its look – if you look at the statistics, how many people are injured by cars rolling onto their roof? Not many as most accidents happen from frontal, side or rear impact where side and frontal airbags have saved numerous lives.

    I suggest that you wait and see the NCAP rating before you criticise this car. I reckon that, if the chassis is as good as has been reported, then the car must have a stiff chassis which aides strength. The car was also designed by Brits in Britain – not like previous Chinese efforts which were just poor imitations.

  78. Ross A says:

    @Wilko
    Wow, you really, really hate this company and really want to see it fail in order to preserve the MG of old don’t you? However, to me, that just seems like a negative affront to all the Designers, Engineers and Assembly workers who are engaged in this project here in the UK and have invested their effort, skill and commitment to make things work – without them the MG6 wouldn’t have seen the light of day in the form that will be seen in the showrooms next month.

  79. Wilko says:

    @Ross A
    Well, if your suggestion was correct (which I think is unlikely) and they have deliberately chosen a bad, dirty engine to put in the MG6 in order to keep demand low, then they would seem to be a very incompetent outfit indeed.

    What I “hate” is what has been done to Longbridge. The Chinese have raped it for everything they could get out of it, whilst putting the bare minimum back in. Anyway, as I’ve said before on this site, I’ll take it all back and apologise sincerely for my pessimism when (or rather if) the place is up and running again as a proper, volume car factory and the UK is the primary country of production for this British marque.

    I don’t want to see MG fail – I want to see it thrive under responsible ownership.

  80. Ianto says:

    STONKING!

    Wow, the MG6 looks great in this colour and it’s great to hear that previous issues with the interior have been addressed. Yes, it’s a shame that there isn’t a diesel, but that shouldn’t really hold it back in the first year and anyway, once the diesel comes along, sales will explode. This is the best thing that’s happened to a former ARG marque since BMW gave us the MINI.

    Well done, SAIC Motor – the guys in China and Longbridge have done a fantastic job. Next stop world domination.

    Aye.

  81. Ianto says:

    Well, that’s my very last post on AROnline ever – I just wanted to go out on top.

    Paul T, Wilko and Simon Woodward – you are all prolific posters and it was quite a task this morning to climb over you all. Respect!

    AROnline’s a great site, excellent posters and contributors (Keith, Clive and all – you do a fantastic job), but I need to concentrate on my studies and work and this site is just too damn addictive.

    Good luck to all!

  82. Wilko says:

    Laterz!

  83. Simon Woodward says:

    @Ianto
    I’ll give it a week and you’ll be back…

    Studying – It helps if you take a break every now and then, it allows you re-focus.

    Wine, Women and Sex

    Wine – Very overrated, far better to see life for real, rather than at the bottom of a glass.

    Women – They will try and change you in the end, best just nod a lot and agree, it’s far easier in the long run.

    Sex – Very overrated in my opinion but the offspring makes it worth the effort.

    CARS – If, like me, you could replicate a Mini Cooper S canning it around the parlour carpet before the age of two, then its pretty much guaranteed that by the age of 45 you would have owned in access of 60 vehicles and driven enough miles to drive to the sun and back. Oh, and in that collection, you need to have at least owned a V8, a Mini, a rag top MG, a big old Jag, several Alfas and set fire to your hair welding up sills for the MOT.

    What is a given is that at no one time will all your collection work properly and you will always be skint but hell that’s what you sign up for when you become a Petrolhead!

    See you again very soon Ianto, you know it makes sense!

  84. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Ianto
    Cheers, my friend, don’t be a stranger.

    I agree with Simon – there’s many a time I’ve thought “that’s it for a while/forever” but the bug just keeps biting!

  85. Carl Maynard says:

    Am I alone in thinking that, if SAIC Motor had brought a mildly facelifted ZT/75 over here, it would have been a dynamically and structurally BETTER car than the MG6???

  86. Wilko says:

    @Carl Maynard
    No, you most certainly are not.

  87. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Carl Maynard
    @Wilko
    It’s a shame that SAIC Motor didn’t – even as a ‘filler’ until a more complete range could be launched.

    I know the the ZT/75 was a dated design, but I still think that and the MG3 Streetwise would have sold in reasonable numbers. A lot will disagree but, for me personally, these are the most aesthetic cars ‘built’ by SAIC Motor since their takeover and pre-MG6.

  88. Ian Perry says:

    Alex J :
    Well, if there was an estate turbo diesel, I would take one in this colour.

    I do not know the future of this current iteration of MG(Rover), but the MG6 will be a hugely significant vehicle.

    Twenty years from now people will be falling over themselves to buy the car that revived the British Motor Industry!!

    I wholeheartedly agree – as a 75 Tourer owner and lover, it would nice to see an MG6 Tourer, but perhaps that’s a step too far for now for the firm as it settles back in. Anyway, as I’m still perfectly OK with my 75 Tourer (although, if I can get a newer one, I will.), I’ll watch excitedly from afar.

  89. Nick Graves says:

    It’s unfair to criticise the poor thing for being slow and dangerous – that’s the overweight a lack of any windows in the interests of supposed safety and most of its rivals suffer the exactly same solecisms.

    The MG6 seems not at all bad a first effort – hopefully, the diesel and less shoddy switchgear can be phased in as sales ramp up. Rome wasn’t built in a day and let’s hope they are successful enough to become viable.

  90. MG Downunda says:

    The MG6 looks like a great and brave attempt to revive a much-loved brand in its home country. Let me see, it’s got something old (the name with a mighty heritage), something new (that styling is bang on for 2011) and it looks great in blue. Best of luck MG and may the marriage with the Chinese work out better for you than that Phoenix disaster which so very nearly saw your proud name left in ashes for all to mourn.

  91. Gary H says:

    @Hilton Davis
    No Diesel?? No hybrid?? A thinly disguised K-Series engine?? One word: dated!!

  92. Hilton Davis says:

    Hi… I’m not sure how my comments warrant a response from Gary H but thanks anyway. I’m sure diesels and hybrids will appear sooner or later if MG want to make the impact.

  93. Alex Scott says:

    Oliver :
    I have just seen the last two letters of the number plate, BL – I hope this will be not a bad omen.

    Incidentally, I have got a ten year old Rover 75 which has six air bags and not four like the new MG6. That car has a very big problem! Cars with a safety equipment like that were built in the mid 1990s and not now!

    I think that, if you want to sell a car today for such a price, you have to build a car which is up to date or years ahead. MG, please build cars which will be comparable to an Astra, Focus or Golf and not to a Lada for the Russian home market!

    I was assisting my colleagues in their quest for Utes with better safety systems (including more air bags) a couple of years ago. The argument ended when I informed “the difficult manager” that his work car, a Mazda 6, had more airbags than (ice)speakers.

  94. Jon says:

    I think that there is a problem when people equate safety directly to the number of airbags. The structure of the vehicle and the way the stucture behaves in an accident are of prime importance. NCAP seem obsessed with secondary details such as the labelling of risks and the number of air bags rather than what these systems actually achieve – hence the 75’s 4 star rating for not fitting curtain bags a standard.

    It seems that the number of bags is a tick box exercise for NCAP – what we should be more interested in is whether the omission of the bags affected the 75’s (for example) safety to any significant degree. I’m a bit of an air bag cynic to be honest. I can see the clear benefits of the driver bag, but the rest seem more of a marketing trick than a safety benefit.

    Jon

  95. Ross A says:

    @Jon
    A sensible comment at last. I mean the best example would be the Rover 100 and its crash test. It had a driver’s airbag but, given the way the steering system launched into the driver, the airbag finished the job off by blowing his head up and severely tilting it back past the head rest.

    I’m often sceptical about curtain airbags because, if you have your head in the wrong position when negotiating a junction or looking and leaning into bend in the road, the chances are you head will be launched away quite violently.

    Running costs! MG are absolute genius – the engine might be in one of the upper mid bands for VED but read this article by Geraldine Ashton Green on Motoring.co.uk – MG Motor UK have done their homework…

  96. Timbo says:

    Ianto :
    This is the best thing that’s happened to a former ARG marque since BMW gave us the MINI.

    We gave BMW the MINI, not the other way round, and they never thanked us! Asset-stripping at its worst – all design and engineering done in Bavaria not Cowley, but that’s another topic.

  97. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Timbo
    That’s not 100% true – the suspension was changed to a BMW design from Hydragas but the bulk of car was Rover-designed…

  98. Chris Lane says:

    I’m very impressed by the way the MG6 looks in blue – in orange, it was not flicking my switch. The saloon version looks a great deal better. Good luck MG.

    Keith, where did you photo-shoot the Maestro with the plane in the background? Love the “BL” plate, very you.

  99. Timbo says:

    Paul T :
    @Timbo
    That’s not 100% true – the suspension was changed to a BMW design from Hydragas but the bulk of car was Rover-designed…

    No doubt you’re right about the MY 2000 car, but the MY 2006 model on and all subsequent variants are Bavaria-designed with no creative input from the home of the MINI. BMW was the worst thing to happen to Rover.

    I do hope this strange looking MG will succeed though – I wish Longbridge all the best and hope what’s left of what was Rover has turned the corner.

  100. Mark Pitchford says:

    I went to the VIP Track Test yesterday at the Prodrive test facility in Warwickshire. I suppose that whether you like MG6’s looks or not is a subjective matter but be in no doubt – it is a seriously good car. It is well built, feels of good quality and might be a bit anonymous from some angles but the surprising bit is the outstanding way it drives.

    I agree though – I don’t know why the orange features so prominently in the press photos. I thought it was the least appealing colour there and I suspect that the whole colour range was on show.

  101. Mark Pitchford says:

    @Steven211
    Yes, and it certainly appears to be orange!

  102. Chris C says:

    Some real photos of the mid-size MG5 are beginning to appear on the web – see, for example, this article on China Car Times.

    I think the MG5 will be the best yet and a carefully distinctive MG styling theme is emerging.

    Incidentally, does anyone know how many MG6s and Roewe 550s have already been made in China? There seems to be nervousness about the 6 being brand new but, if thousands have already been sold in China, then surely they will have helped to iron the bugs out?

  103. Mark Pitchford says:

    Jemma :
    …or a Humber Sceptre 1725 6 speed manual: 6 speed transmission (8 optional), 85bhp, 0-60mph – 10.2 seconds and £2500 for a perfect example.

    It would cost less to re-spec such a vehicle to the same as the TSE than buy a new one and, over the lifetime, it would still be cleaner and better for the environment.

    We’ve come fifty years almost from the introduction of the Sceptre and similar cars – and we are orgasmic about the fact that fifty years of development has shaved a second off 0-60… Woo, hoo!

    I am getting to the point where I think there should be controls a la Czechoslovakia in the 1950s as regards new cars. We winge about nuclear power and the Gods know what else and then go buy a new car or a new laptop to replace the one that was working perfectly but was more than twenty minutes old.

    I like the colour but I am not impressed – the MG6 is just another blandobox to go with all the other blandoboxes.

    @Jemma
    My first car was a 1968 Humber Sceptre complete with recirculating ball steering. It may as well have had a rudder. Negotiating cross winds involved pointing the thing in roughly the right direction and praying. Fond memories though. RIP OBL 536F.

  104. Andrew Elphick says:

    Ask Ash at China Car Times?

  105. X10Rich says:

    Well, I drove the MG6 today and had a good look over the car. It displays fanstastic build quality (no rattles or creaks) and does feel like a very solid car. It handles fantastically and you really get the feeling that MG Motor are going to make the “whole ownership package” quite special.

    The spec on the car is fantastic – you get a lot for the money (certainly compared to other cars on the market).

    However, the interior isn’t really to my taste and doesn’t “feel very MG”. Mind you, then again, it’s a modern car and I suspect that it wouldn’t be as good quailty if MG Rover were making it (but we might have got a lot more trim options, which let’s it down). Actually, in some respects, the car does have the feel of a “next generation” MGR – even the Owner’s Handbook uses the same font and layout as the old Rover 75 ones!

    Impressed…

  106. Keith Adams Keith Adams says:

    @X10Rich
    Rich, one thing I am genuinely happy about reading this review from you is that it’s not only impressed the swanky road testers, who generally aren’t planted in realty, but also a real world, real life MG Rover enthusiast who could potentially part with his own cash to buy one of these cars.

    Glad to see you’re impressed – I suspect once they get bums on seats, MG Motor UK will be fine. 🙂

  107. Mark Pitchford says:

    @Keith Adams
    I agree with that. I’ve long been an MG Rover sympathiser and frequent owner – but not at all costs – and we presently own a Chevrolet and a Citroen (the latter since our Streetwise was written off).

    I buy a new car for work every three years or so and I can honestly say that, having driven the MG6, it would be on my shortlist next time around even if it wasn’t made by MG.

    I reckon that is probably even more important than retaining the current enthusiasts at the end of the day.

  108. Andy Thompson says:

    The MG6 looks and sounds like a great car with lots of potential. Well done to everyone at Longbridge.

    However, when is the automatic option coming? I find it really strange that so many people want to spend so much effort changing gear when a good auto is easier and nippier to drive.

    Indeed, with such good handling, road holding and ride, the MG6 is clearly crying out for an auto so you can enjoy the ride and the road ahead without forever getting distracted by changing gear!

  109. Mark Pitchford says:

    @Andy Thompson
    I disagree with your auto preferences but, I guess, that’s a personal taste thing!

    Anyway, according to information provided by MG Motor UK at this week’s the Customer Track Tests, the automatic and the diesel will arrive in 2012 and the latter will have a 6 speed gearbox.

    Apparently, the Chinese share your sentiments and an automatic is the gearbox most people choose in China.

  110. MG Man says:

    I’ve not sat in an MG6 but have seen the interior pictures, which look good. However, I’ve heard that the interior quality is appalling and nowhere near the standard for £15k+ car – is that correct?

  111. Dr Richard Croft says:

    The MG6 looks brilliant in Union Blue and the reviews are all very positive – 4 out of 5 stars from Telegraph Motoring and similar elsewhere. That’s amazing for a new company! Once the diesel arrives the sales will rocket.

    The speed limiter is genius and surely a reference to ‘Safety Fast’. I reckon that, if this is a glimpse of the future, then MG is in very safe hands with SAIC Motor.

  112. Jon says:

    MG Man :
    I’ve not sat in an MG6 but have seen the interior pictures, which look good. However, I’ve heard that the interior quality is appalling and nowhere near the standard for £15k+ car – is that correct?

    I spent a long time pouring over the MG6s which were displayed at MPH in the NEC last November and, although the cars were pre-production models, I would say the interior quality was at about Kia Cee’d level i.e. good but workman-like.

    The MG6’s interior was certainly much more pleasant than that of the 2010 Ford Focus which I rented for a week in France last summer.

    Jon.

  113. martin van de velde says:

    i love the car, ive seen it, i drove it.
    cant wait till it come to holland.

  114. David Dawson says:

    I still haven’t seen one on the road!

    Last night I tried to view some sales figures. The only figure I came across was less than 100 units for the first two months on sale. Surely, this can’t be a national figure?! The fact I still have not seen one would indicate it is. However, Graham Walker in Chester gave the impression of far better sales than this.

  115. Ryan Antell says:

    I wish they would make a mg6 MG XPower

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